Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament Fiona Hall has responded to former Chancellor Nigel Lawson’s call for Britain to leave the EU.
Writing in the Independent, she spelled out some of the economic consequences of such a move:
We are currently on the cusp of a game-changing trade deal between the EU and the US, which will bring billions of pounds to the British economy and create tens of thousands of jobs. The US has also made it quite clear that our ‘special relationship’ would cease to be special were the UK outside the EU. Major trade agreements with India and Japan are also in the pipeline. To leave the EU now would mean turning our back on the global economy and jeopardising crucial trade and investment.
Not only would we lose our potential market, but we would have fewer companies setting up shop in this country and creating jobs:
Meanwhile, those companies from outside the EU which choose to invest in the UK do so largely because of its role as a gateway into the single market. If we were no longer a member, we would rapidly lose our position as the top destination for companies establishing their European headquarters. Investors in Britain’s booming car industry would also look elsewhere if they no longer had tariff-free access to the European market. Earlier this year two of Britain’s biggest car makers, Ford and BMW, warned that exiting the EU would be disastrous for the UK’s economy.
She suggests that Lawson may be motivated by a desire to protect bankers from curbs on bonuses and by his views on climate change:
Lawson’s arguments suggest he is perhaps less worried about Britain’s economy as a whole and more about the potential threat that EU rules pose to his friends in the City, for example the recent cap on bankers’ bonuses. Yet even senior banking figures have repeatedly warned that leaving the EU would be utter “lunacy” as it would have a catastrophic impact on the UK’s financial sector. London currently deals with around 40% of global euro-denominated trading, more than anywhere else in the world. Outside the EU, the UK would have no way to influence European financial legislation and ensure its economic interests are protected.
As a long-standing climate change sceptic, it is perhaps no great surprise that Lawson opposes the EU, which has put the fight against global warming high on its agenda. His climate sceptic thinktank has consistently questioned overwhelming scientific evidence, apparently choosing instead to promote the agenda of its handful of wealthy backers. He confirms the notion that Conservatives will only pursue the narrow vested interests of a rich elite, while ignoring the needs of the population at large.
You can read the whole article here.
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